The first year of the program covers subjects taken by all students across the university, to prepare students for studying specialist subjects in the later years of the program, and to equip them with a well-rounded education as members of society. These subjects include natural sciences-related subjects that form the basis of materials science, such as physics, chemistry, and mathematics. Alongside such subjects, students also learn the basics of specialist areas (mathematical bases for engineering, fundamentals of electrical circuits, and basic organic chemistry). In the study skills classes taught in small groups, students engage in multifaceted learning and practical exercises to equip them to make the most of their time at university.
The courses taken in the second year are primarily introductory-level specialist subjects, allowing students to solidify their grounding in materials science. In addition to such subjects, students also take some of the subjects common to all students and specialist subjects.
Having acquired basic academic skills in materials science, third-year students take specialist subjects in one of two paths: the Applied Materials Science course, focused on physics, or the Materials Engineering course, focused on chemistry. They take laboratory work classes in functional materials engineering in their respective courses.
In the fourth year, students are assigned to one of the laboratories for their course (the Applied Materials Science course or the Materials Engineering course). In their laboratory groups, they acquire deeper, broader specialist knowledge through seminars (sessions in which students introduce and discuss papers and sessions in technical English), as well as polishing their ability to apply their knowledge and skills by engaging in introductory research in preparation for graduation research projects, and subsequently their graduation research projects.
Materials Science Laboratory Work is a twice-weekly laboratory work program lasting half of the academic year (two terms). The program covers areas such as electromagnetic and optical properties of substances, structural analysis of crystals, creation of control system programs, metal plating, the structural analysis, decomposition, and recovery of polymers, enzymes, the electrophoresis of proteins, semiconductor devices and electronic circuits, and materials testing. This allows students to cover a wide range of fields such as physics, chemistry, biotechnology, electronics, and mechanics, as well as having the opportunity to receive instruction from faculty members who are experts in each field.
By engaging in such a diverse range of laboratory work, students come to see the outline of science and technology from a wide perspective. That outline cannot be seen when one merely studies the individual academic disciplines, and allows students to acquire unique insights regarding science and technology. Drawing on these unique insights as a basis for an extensive view of current materials science should naturally lead them to discover chances to offer a better approach. If they follow such instincts without reservation, they should be able to recognize wonderful new possibilities for materials that were formerly never even considered, and produce ideas for previously inconceivable materials and new functions.
The topics covered in laboratory work for this program are all outstanding research findings achieved by the pioneers of the past. There is a certain thrill to spending a number of hours immersed in reliving these major discoveries, making the laboratory work not only a means of preparing to produce excellent work in the future, but also a truly great experience. We hope that students will experience a rewarding student life while enjoying the good fortune of having been born in a time in which they can easily relive such discoveries, and develop into outstanding researchers and engineers.
Experiments on photoelectric effects
The synthesis of materials using photoreaction experiments
My laboratory is part of a group pursuing research in the field of physics known as solid state physics, and my research takes a theoretical approach to the field. The aim of the research is to give theoretical explanations regarding the behavior of interesting data from physical properties experiments inside and outside the university (including overseas), and to develop theory to propose anticipated new physical properties. To put it simply, we are solving riddles and hunting treasure in the field of physical properties.
Let me briefly introduce two research results that are representative of what we have found so far, as an indication of what we may be able to achieve in our research. Incidentally, it is the electrons in matter that play the leading role in our field of research. Electrons normally have electric charge and spin (the magnetic moment of electrons) as their degrees of freedom, but if electrons in crystals are localized in places with relatively high symmetry, they may have other degrees of freedom. Normally, lowering the temperature brings order to the spin and generates magnetism, but in the above case, there is potential for functions that electrons are not normally able to possess to emerge as physical properties. This theory has in fact been applied to filled skutterudite compound PrRu4P12, thereby explaining its non-magnetic transition. Another proposal that we made from our research findings was that the well-known insulator SmB6 is a topological insulator (as the interface of the specimen is metallic, it is distinguished from normal insulators). A significant amount of experiment data supporting this proposal was subsequently published, corroborating the validity of the theory. The figure presents the calculation results of the spectrum of the surface state.
Figure: Results of using an effective model to calculate the electronic spectrum of the -plane of the SmB6. The electronic state (blue lines) can be seen in the energy gap (-0.02 - 0.01).
Licenses and qualifications that can be acquired
- First class upper secondary school teacher's license (industry)
- Safety manager (application possible with two years of practical work experience), etc.
*The information provided here refers to students’ employment paths for the department prior to reorganization.
Career paths after graduation
Many companies are looking for technical experts in the field of materials engineering. As shown below, graduates are pursuing active careers in a wide range of fields.
Companies that place particular importance on research and development seek people who have acquired more advanced specialist knowledge by completing graduate school programs, and at least 60% of graduates go on to study at graduate school. Nearly 100% of students who complete graduate programs find employment. The ratio of job opportunities to job seekers (the number of companies offering job opportunities to each person seeking employment) is approximately 3-6 companies to each job seeker.
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